Each day, I went to work certain that the “powers that be” would recognize my skills and abilities and that would propel me up the ladder faster than everyone else. It was partially true. I was fortunate to have bosses that gave me challenging work assignments, the kind that really push you to learn. But, every few weeks, my boss would hit me with some business question I wasn’t prepared for. You know the ones, questions like:
- How is payroll handling taxation for this consultant who is working in Texas, California and New Jersey in the same pay period?
- Why is the utilization of our senior associates lower than this time last year?
- If we reduce headcount by 6%, what is the financial impact and any benefits/ pitfalls we should be aware of?
These were all things that were not necessarily in my arsenal (just yet) and that required a bit of researching, learning and regurgitating. As I look back now, a little older and wiser, I wonder if the boss really even needed the answers. It may have been a way to challenge me to step up and think, not to keep doing the job duties I already knew. The duties that made me comfortable.
Fast forward to today and I am now a leader. I actually took a new job as the VP of HCM Strategy and Product Management at Infor because I DON’T have all the answers. What I’ve learned over the years is that if I have a job where it comes easy, where I know all the answers, I become stagnant. Finding the ideal job means that you should only be comfortable with about 70% of what you’re being asked to achieve. This will give you room to question, to wonder, to create, and to innovate.